Meet the Employment Training Specialists


Holly Nichols 

Hello! My name is Holly Nichols and I have worked on the Kent ISD campus as an Employment Training Specialist and Career and Technical Education Specialist for 30 years. I have held my current position in the Internship program for the last 13 years. I spend my days providing on-going support to the intern students and developing training sites in the Region 3 area of Kent County, which encompasses Wyoming, Grandville and Byron Center. I spent my prior years working in the former KTC Manufacturing program and the Electro-Mechanical & HVAC programs at Kent Career Technical Center.

I have an Associate of Arts degree from Grand Rapids Community College, an Associate of Applied Science degree from Ferris State University, and am certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator.  Through the YWCA Jobs Network, I received training in the areas of electrical, carpentry, plumbing, sheet metal fabrication, and mechanical drafting.

In my free time I enjoy camping, fishing, canoeing and spending time with family and friends.

Brenda Brower 

Hello! My name is Brenda Brower. I joined the Internship team 9 years ago. I am certified as an Employment Training Specialist, and came with four years of similar experience from the Region 1 Transition Program where I ran the Resale store, helped teach life skills and placed students in businesses in the community for work experience. Prior to working in education, I spent 20 years at D & W as a customer service manager and human resources manager and gained experience in store operations, customer service, training, scheduling, evaluating, disciplining employees and staffing the stores.

My favorite thing about the Transition Center is seeing the students growth throughout the school year. The Internship Program is the last stop in high school for these students and it helps them understand what businesses expect from them in the workforce.  We strive to help the students achieve success at their training sites.  

My husband, Scott, and I have three children and six grandsons. I am a dog lover, a University of Michigan football fan, and enjoy exploring Michigan's northern area.

Susan Balas

Hi! This is my fourth year working at Kent Transition Center, starting as a Career Tech Specialist in the CORE program. This was a brand new program when I began. I really enjoyed working for KTC at an offsite location - the Mary Free Bed YMCA and now look forward to working with  2nd year KTC students as they intern at local businesses. I find working with our students very rewarding as well as challenging, as they step into young adulthood, working on skills needed to prepare them for life beyond high school.

I began my career in special education about 20 years ago. I had been taking college classes but wanted to be around for my growing family and decided to volunteer at my son's elementary school as a cafeteria lunchroom aid. I loved working with the students and when a part-time substitute aid position came open at the local junior high, I jumped on it. It was in a special education room and I loved it and never looked back, thus bringing me to where I am today.

My husband, Craig, and I have three grown sons, Ryan, Devon and Alec. We have two daughter-in-laws and two grandchildren. We also have two very sweet and well-behaved adopted pit bull terriers, Rigby and Mia. I love spending time with family and friends. My hobbies are reading, gardening, exercising, and I love going to our cabin in Traverse City. I also enjoy shopping and going to the movies.


Ashley Craddock